U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing funding for a study on the genetic diversity of cabbage.

North Carolina State University Plants for Human Health Institute scientists, Gad Yousef, senior research scientist, and Allan Brown, assistant professor, plan to study green, red and savoy cabbage in a collaboration with the USDA germplasm repository in Geneva, N.Y.

"Our goal is to identify material that will lead to new and economically viable cultivars for North Carolina farmers," Yousef said in a news release.

Cabbage is known to protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. Red and purple cabbage contain antioxidants.

Despite its health benefits, cabbage consumption has decreased over the past four decades.

"We believe that improved taste and health benefits will lead to greater consumption of this healthy vegetable," Brown said in the news release.